Here is today's summary of economic development news, a free service of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing Alabama's private sector investment in economic development. If you enjoy NewsFlash, thank an EDPA Partner.
Mercedes-Benz unveils revamped GL-Class at New York auto show
Published: Wednesday, April 04, 2012, 11:01 AM Updated: Wednesday, April 04, 2012, 11:13 AM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Here is the first look at the redesigned Mercedes-Benz
GL-Class, the full-size sport utility made at the automaker's Vance plant
The new GL made its debut this morning during media days at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, where Mercedes-Benz Cars hosted the world premiere for three vehicles -- the SL65 AMG, the facelifted GLK-Class and GL.
Mercedes' Alabama operation said it will start building the 2013 GL-Class later this year for markets around the globe. The Vance plant also produces the M-Class and the R-Class.
The new model represents the second generation of the GL-Class.
US sales of Alabama-built vehicles rose in March
Published: Wednesday, April 04, 2012, 8:00 AM Updated: Wednesday, April 04, 2012, 9:49 AM
U.S. sales rose during March for nearly all of the vehicles built in Alabama.
Combined sales of the eight models assembled in the state totaled 71,650, according to automaker reports issued Tuesday. That's a 4.5 percent improvement over March 2011.
Across the U.S. auto industry, sales rose 13 percent to 1.4 million for the month, according to Autodata Corp., as most major automakers reported increases in their overall sales.
Among state-made models, the biggest year-over-year improvement was seen for the Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV, the vehicle that gave birth to the state's auto industry.
The German automaker said its U.S. dealers sold 4,070 M-Class vehicles in March, up 45.8 percent from the same month in 2011. The sport utility vehicle, which made its debut in 1997 and has gone through several updates, was the automaker's third best-selling vehicle last month, trailing the C-Class and E-Class sedans.
Honeywell UOP's $20 million expansion in Chickasaw should be complete by fall
Published: Wednesday, April 04, 2012, 3:17 AM
CHICKASAW, Alabama -- A catalyst and adsorbent production facility that employs nearly 400 in Chickasaw announced Tuesday it expects to complete a $20 million expansion by the fall.
UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, announced the expansion to its "specialized adsorbent and catalyst process area." The expansion constitutes a 50-percent increase in that process area's volume production, according to Dan Key, vice president of integrated supply chain at Honeywell UOP.
The Chickasaw plant is the largest manufacturing facility that Honeywell UOP operates, Key said, and the expansion will create eight new jobs. It also puts the company in line for $1.9 million in tax breaks over the next decade.
The equipment currently on order to complete the expansion to UOP's specialized process area is expected to be installed and operational in the fall, and will allow increased production of its ion-exchanger adsorbents, which are "crystalline materials that can selectively remove radioactive ions from liquids."
The materials have been used commercially for more than 30 years to remove radioactive ions from liquids, such as radioactive waste streams in commercial nuclear power plants, alkaline tank waste, and spent fuel storage pool water, according to the release. And such adsorbents are currently in use in the contaminated wastewater reservoirs of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, which suffered three catastrophic meltdowns in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
Honeywell UOP is currently under contract with the Toshiba corporation to provide the materials for use in Japan.
Work on Carpenter steel plant to start in next week
TANNER - Construction on the $500 million Carpenter Technology steel plant is expected to begin in the next week.
Carpenter Vice President of Operations Ernie Jones, who will oversee the Tanner facility, said the first product ready for sale will leave the factory on April 1, 2014.
The facility is expected to generate between 200 and 250 jobs, Jones said, and hiring will be done through Alabama Industrial Development Training. The company's website, www.cartech.com, also has a section for submitting resumes specifically for the Limestone facility.
The facility will use the largest radial forge ever built and will float down the Tennessee River in three pieces beginning in May.
Practical Energy General Session for Industry offered by ATN & AL Industrial Assessment Center
Huntsville, Ala., - April 4, 2012-Summer is coming and the heat, humidity, and your company's utility bills are all rising to new highs. Take a day to attend a free Practical Energy General Session to learn about industrial best practices for the most commonly used industrial systems.
The session will provide low cost, high payback ideas that can be implemented immediately and commonly available energy assessment tools with hands on demonstration. Also details on how to contact other partners in industry who provide free or reduced training services regarding energy use.
Industrial systems covered during the 8-hour session include: lighting, motors, compressed air systems, steam systems, chillers and cooling towers, boilers and hot water systems, involving people in energy savings, and carbon footprint calculator demonstration.
Upcoming Practical Energy Sessions are April 18, June 15, August 24 and go from 8:30am to 4:30pm. There is no cost to attendees but does require pre-register - seating is limited.
The training site is the UAH-ATN offices, Shelby Center bldg, Room 154, on the UAHuntsville campus, 301 Sparkman Dr., Huntsville, AL , 35899.
For registration- www.uahcmer.com
For registration assistance - call 256.824.LEAN (5326) or email
Green Enterprise Development Training Series offered by ATN - Part of Alabama E3 Initiative
Huntsville, Ala., - March 14, 2012--The Green Enterprise Development Training Series - developed for manufacturers by Purdue University and SME (Society for Manufacturing Engineers) is being offered to all Alabama employed workers beginning April 6 at no charge for trainingif required documentation is provided. Other non-mfg Alabama companies are encouraged to send their employees to attend the Green Enterprise training for information and hands-on training on how to apply sustainable processes in the workplace.
Alabama businesses can send employees to attend the upcoming Green Enterprise Development series - Level 1 (April 6) & Level 2 training modules (April 13 - July 12) with training fees waived but will need to pay a $25 consumables fee per attendee per day. Employees can attend all nine days of training or select individual green enterprise modules to attend.
The waived training charge for all Alabama employed workers is part of the Alabama E3 Initiative. To meet the requirement to receive the special pricing, Alabama employed workers attending must bring additional documentation to the training site. Required documentation list is provided during the on-line registration process - go to www.uahcmer.com/atn/sustainable-solutions/ for details and registration.
Alabama Technology Network is offering the training series utilizing UAHuntsville -ATN staff and their on-campus training facility located in UAHuntsville's Shelby Center for Technology. After completion of Level I and Level 2, Level 3 can be achieved by taking the accreditation exam for the SME Green Manufacturing Specialist Certificate. Check out www.uahcmer.com for more course & registration details, or call 256.824.LEAN (5326), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Green Generalist [Level 1] - Friday, April 6
8 hour course on how to apply sustainable, environmentally friendly practices in the workplace. Focuses on education & awareness and includes interactive "live" simulations.
Green Specialist [Level 2] -various Fridays, beginning April 13 - July 12
8 hour courses covering Water Conservation; Pollution, Solid Waste Mgt, Energy Mgt, Environmental Waste Stream Mapping, Green Chemistry, and Sustainability in Practice.
Alabama E3 -- Economy, Energy, and Environment Initiative is a coordinated federal & local technical assistance project that assists communities work with their manufacturing base to adapt and thrive in a new business era focused on energy sustainability - the first of its kind in Alabama. For more information about Alabama E3 and its federal, state, and local partners and the Alabama Technology Network: www.atn.org
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Wendy Wallace Johnson